SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — At long last, Emmanuel Burriss is back where he is supposed to be for the San Francisco Giants.
It has been a long 20 months since the last half of Burriss’ 2009 season at Triple-A Fresno was shelved because of a fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot. Another fracture of the same bone in spring training a year ago limited him.
He played in five games for Class A San Jose in 2010, 67 games for Fresno and five for the Giants, but still wasn’t quite the same as before.
Now 25 pounds lighter and moving around much better, he is in the mix for a reserve role with Mark DeRosa and Mike Fontenot.
“It’s a difference between night and day over last year,” he said. “It took a long time for me to get back here, where I’m feeling more comfortable.”
He said when he was injured the first time, “it was a big disappointment. The second time was heartbreaking.”
Burriss was having a good spring when he injured the foot again. He couldn’t work out the way he wanted, use his legs the way he wanted, and that contributed to his weight gain.
“It was tough mentally,” he said. “There were times when I wondered if it was still worth it. My parents played a big part in keeping me going, and my 6-year-old son. He’s just now really getting to learn and enjoy the game, and the energy he has, it just brings you up.”
Burriss also played winter ball in the Dominican Republic for the Gigantes del Cibao. He played shortstop almost exclusively, but is working at both middle infield spots here in camp. He took grounders at second base on Wednesday.
In 2009, Burriss was the opening day second baseman for the Giants and he could have the chance to be there again if Freddy Sanchez isn’t ready to go after offseason surgery on his left shoulder.
Burriss has 107 career games at second, 47 at shortstop, and has a career batting average of .264.
“We want to give Manny more action at second base,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Burriss wants to make sure he is ready to go at second or short. He sits two seats away from veteran shortstop Miguel Tejada, one of the newest Giants.
“We’ve talked about how to play a couple of times. He is here to work and it can only help me to watch how he does things,” Burriss said.
Returning to good health means Burriss also can use his speed on the basepaths, and can be valuable as a pinch-runner in the late innings if he doesn’t start. “I’m a speed guy, so it feels good to be able to run again,” Burriss said.
NOTES: The team will have an intrasquad game on Thursday and open the spring season on Friday at Scottsdale Stadium against NL West rival Arizona. Right-hander Tim Lincecum will start against the D-Backs. … Bochy said he would consult with pitching coach Dave Righetti and announce the rotation for the remainder of the spring on Thursday.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)